I’d been ignoring the sound for weeks, while simultaneously monitoring it just enough to know it was metal scraping against something and it originated in the rear end the well-worn Mistsubishi that is my car. In this season of economic challenges, oil changes are the extent of the maintenance, and the scraping of metal doesn’t typically indicate a need for oil. I am convinced it is an exhaust clamp, or pipe, or muffler rusted and ready to go skidding down the freeway at the most inopportune moment and that the funds in my checking account will not be enough to cover repairs.
On this particular morning, windows open because it was such a beautiful day, I drove across the parking lot and the sound grew loud enough that it could no longer be ignored. As I monitored the problem, I realized the sound occurred more frequently when I accelerated and slowed down when I put on the breaks. Tired of the low-voltage anxiety of ignoring the sound, I found a parking place in an empty row, got out of the car, and put my ear to the asphalt—fully expecting to see an epic failure somewhere in the exhaust system. Surprise and delight rushed to greet me when my mind confirmed my optical observation—all is well.
I got up from the pavement and brushed some pebbles from my knees. Standing beside the car for a moment I am baffled, not quite knowing what to do next. Then I looked down and discovered that the plastic hub cab on the rear tire was hanging loose. I kicked it a couple of times, gently, to force it back into place before taking a closer look. The overwhelming majority of clips designed to attach the hub cap to the rim were broken. Only one intact clip remained. Breaking the final clip, I removed the hub cap and tossed it into the back seat. As I pulled out of the parking lot the noise of metal scraping no longer accompanied me. The 2003 Mitsubishi seems to run just fine without the hub cab.
All this to say that ignoring the noise didn’t ease my anxiety, it just camouflaged my worry. This misadventure clearly reveals my wavering ability to trust in God’s provision. In sharing this story with friends recently, I found myself saying—and hopefully more faithfully believing—that God cares for me and for you more deeply and fully than He cares for the sparrows, that our Creator is a generous God, and with faith we can rest in the assurance that the worrisome economic challenges we face are hub caps in God’s economy.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31 NIV